Thiele to Pitch Commuter Service Monday in Sag Harbor

The main entrance to Pierson Middle-High School.

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. will attend the Monday, September 17, meeting of the Sag Harbor School Board to offer information about the planned South Fork Commuter Connection, a system of trains and shuttles for local employees with long work commutes that’s set to begin in the spring.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the library at Pierson Middle-High School.  School employees as well as all community members have been invited to the presentation.

Sag Harbor superintendent Katy Graves said she is looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about the service, including the train times that will be available to commuters via the Long Island Rail Road. The towns of East Hampton and Southampton are in the process of soliciting proposals from transportation companies for “last mile” service to get workers from train stations to employment hubs like schools, downtowns, commercial centers and more.

“For Sag Harbor schools, it has been a challenge to keep employees because of the commute, what we lovingly call the ‘trade parade,’” Ms. Graves said. “Last year, we hired 17 teachers and teaching assistants. We lost about a third of them. The ones that we lost were the ones who had to do the commute across the canal.”

She imagined a world in which school employees with long commutes “could step out of the trade parade.”

“If you’re on a train, there are so many things you can be getting done while someone else is doing the driving for you,” Ms. Graves said. “I applaud [Mr. Thiele] as well as our other representatives for all of their efforts.”